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Five Things Student Affairs Administrators Can Do to Improve Success Among College Men of Color
  • Shaun R. Harper, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

They are outnumbered at most colleges and universities, their grade point averages are among the lowest of all undergraduate students, their engagement in classrooms and enriching out-of-class experiences is alarmingly low, and their attrition rates are comparatively higher than those of White students in U.S. higher education. Their same-race female peers earn larger shares of degrees at all levels, from associate's through doctoral. Encounters with racism, racial stereotypes, microaggressions, and low expectations from professors and others undermine their academic outcomes, sense of belonging, and willingness to seek help and utilize campus resources. At predominantly White institutions, they are often in classes where they are the only or one of few students from their racial groups. In recent years, such trends among Black, Latino, Native American, and some Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) male student populations have garnered the attention of student affairs administrators, college presidents, policymakers, and concerned others. These issues have been discussed on Capitol Hill; written about in numerous books, policy reports, and journal articles; and examined in sessions at a wide array of national conferences. Institutions have hosted daylong summits for campus constituents, started student organizations for undergraduate men of color, and invested in mentoring programs that connect male students with institutional agents. Despite these efforts, racial and gender inequities continue to place undergraduate men of color at a disadvantage at the overwhelming majority of U.S. colleges and universities. This publication calls for institutional responsibility for student success, with an emphasis on what student affairs administrators can contribute to ongoing efforts to improve achievement and attainment among college men of color. Given the complexities and magnitude of issues, student affairs divisions on their own cannot do everything required to improve experiences and outcomes among minority male populations; faculty, academic affairs administrators, presidents and provosts, and policymakers also have roles to play. Nonetheless, student affairs leadership is critical to any institution-based effort. As such, this publication presents five important steps for student affairs professionals to improve educational achievement among AAPI, Black, Native American, and Latino male undergraduates.

  • Black Men,
  • Latino Men,
  • Asian American Men,
  • Native American Men,
  • Higher Education
Publication Date
Citation Information
Harper, S. R. (2013). Five things student affairs administrators can do to improve success among college men of color. Washington, DC: NASPA.